Poultry Plant Wages

Jien et al v. Perdue Farms, Inc. et al, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-02521 (U.S. District Court for Maryland)

This is a class action lawsuit against the leading poultry producers in the United States for allegedly conspiring to fix and depress the compensation paid to hundreds of thousands of workers at poultry processing plants.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include 20 poultry producers and many of their subsidiaries (“Defendant Poultry Producers”)—such as Tyson Foods, Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, and Perdue Farms, Inc.—that produce more than 90 percent of the poultry sold in the United States.  Two consulting companies that facilitate the exchange of compensation data—Agri Stats, Inc. (“Agri Stats”) and Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company, Inc. (“WMS”)—are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The Defendant Poultry Producers operate approximately 200 poultry processing plants in the continental United States.  These poultry processing plants employ hundreds of thousands of workers who process live chickens and turkeys into poultry products sold to retailers and consumers.  The Defendant Poultry The lawsuit alleges that, since January 1, 2009, the defendants have conspired to fix and depress the hourly wages and benefits paid to workers in poultry processing plants in violation of the federal antitrust laws.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants formed, implemented, monitored and enforced the conspiracy to fix and depress compensation paid to Class Members through a series of overt acts, including: secret surveys that contained current and future data; secret, in-person meetings where roundtable discussions were held about optimal compensation rates; inter-defendant communications about current and future compensation rates; exchanges of compensation data between rival plant managers; and exchanging compensation data on monthly basis through Agri Stats.

The lawsuit alleges that the intended and actual effect of defendants’ conspiracy to fix compensation has been to reduce and suppress the salaries, wages, and benefits paid to workers in poultry processing plants to levels materially lower than they would have been in a competitive market.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a class consisting of non-managerial persons employed by the Defendant Poultry Producers at poultry processing plants in the continental United States from January 1, 2000 until the present.  The lawsuit seeks to prevent the defendants from continuing their conspiracy and to recover financial damages for the class of workers.

A copy of the complaint is available HERE.

If you have any questions concerning this case, or would like to share information related to this case, please contact attorney George Farah at [email protected] or 212-477-8090.

We are lawyers who seek to improve the world. We fight for: workers deprived of wages, consumers deceived about products, tenants denied access to housing, farmers mistreated by processors, parents deprived of adequate parental leave, investors who were defrauded, small businesses harmed by antitrust violations, persons with disabilities denied access, whistleblowers who uncover fraud, and women and communities of color subject to discrimination.

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